SV Accomplice Blog week 12 9/1/20 to 15/1/20

Wed 15 Jan 2020 16:26
SV Accomplice Blog week 12 9/1/20 to 15/1/20

The period between arrival in Rodney Bay St Lucia to 9/1/20 had been spent with family over the Christmas period and boat preparations in the New Year.

Much eating out was enjoyed culminating in a wonderful Christmas Day spent at the Humming Bird restaurant/hotel in Soufriere with the picture perfect backdrop of the Pitons. We also were regular visitors to the Pigeon Island nature reserve and used it as a good swimming and snorkelling spot.

The World Arc circumnavigation officially started in St Lucia on Saturday 11th January, the first leg being St Lucia to St Marta, Columbia, a passage of just over 800 NM.

The week leading up to the start of the leg involved having safety equipment checks, seminars, briefings and getting to know the other participants with drinks and nibbles evenings. There are about 30 boats on the first leg and takes some effort trying to tie up the boats, their names, their skippers and crews names and all the faces!

Mike and Diane joined us just after New Years Day, together with myself and Janet completing our team for the legs down to Columbia then onto the San Blas Islands, Panama Canal and the Galápagos Islands.

The weather in St Lucia leading up to the start has been quite changeable and squally with strong winds forecast for the passage. You don’t mind being caught out in stronger winds than anticipated at sea, there’s not much you can do about it, but to go to sea knowing that in the later part of the passage gale force winds are probable, that’s a bit unnerving!

Boat fiddling and tidying complete we were ready to go.

12 noon Saturday soon came around and at that moment we were probably a minute behind the start line...not bad for us really😂

As we rounded the turn mark off of Castries, capital, the first squall hit the fleet. The drill being 1. Reduce the size of the sail area (reef) and 2. Get soaked! Squalls come in all shapes and sizes really take your pick, some have very strong winds on their leading edges others not so strong, some have a few spots of rain others torrential. Indeed the one yesterday was one of the later. Very heavy extensive black/grey clouds, with winds reaching 35knots and rain that flattened the sea. Once safely reefed it was quite picturesque watching nature perform all around us.

The passage so far has actually been ok, winds in the range of say low to mid twenties with seas ranging from lumpy to quite lumpy.

The crew are happyish.....Janet has been suffering recurrent sea sickness and Diane, though not actually sick, has felt queasy the whole time and incapacitated by it.

Janet has picked up again where she left off on the bread making front, though not quite with the same success....unfortunately yesterday’s attempt failed...the dough didn’t quite rise and thinking that baking it might save the day...well it didn’t...rock hard on the outside and gooey in the inside! Having thrown it over the side I did wonder how many fish it might concuss on the way down to the sea bed😂 Chocolate cake promised today, so fingers crossed! It is only a case of opening the packet ans adding water....but you just don’t know.

We have passed the Venezuelan coastline and have entered the Colombian. Quite nice to have done that given the security issues in Venezuela.

Accomplice has been sailing along happily in these downwind trade winds conditions. No real problems, bailing out the generator bilge of sea water is a twice daily occurrence, I can’t find the source of a slight water leak when the generator is run.

I had to do some additional bailing out in the middle of the night when we were hit broadside by a rogue wave which sent a jet of sea water through the heads hatch into the rear berth. The floor boards had to come up so I could get to the bilges which had a couple of inches of water in them sloshing around! The joys of sailing!

We are now sailing fast down the Columbian coast about 130 miles from Santa Marta with a strong breeze behind us. Seems steady at the moment hoping the sea doesn’t built too much. At this speed it looks like we will arrive in the dark with the added stress of an acceleration zone to go through as we arrive. Santa Marta sits at the foot of the Andes mountain range.

Janet has been industrious this morning with cake baking and making lunch of Russian salad, wraps and a salad. We won’t see her the rest of the day as she will be exhausted😂.

All for now.

Andrew, Mike, Janet and Diane
Columbian waters